Setting Up an Environment that Motivates You

One way to stay motivated is to set up your environment in a way that it supports an exercise habit. Here are a few options to consider.

  • Make it easy to exercise. Have everything you need ready for every workout. Know the workout you’ll do, how long it will take, what you need to do it, and get it all together so when workout time comes, you don’t have to hunt for that other shoe or your heart rate monitor.
  • Find something you like. Do you have to love exercise? No. But you should find something good about it. Forget about what you think you should do and do something you like or at least something you can tolerate. Everything feels hard at first, but it gets easier if you keep going. Walking is always an excellent place to start.
  • Get good at something. One of the internal motivators is self-efficacy. It feels good to master something, so why not master spinning or aerobics or pushups? When you focus on doing something well, you forget about the fact that you’re exercising.
  • Find some support. Get a workout buddy if you can or just someone you can text with every day for accountability. Beyond that, get your family behind you so you can have your workout time without having to worry about everyone else.
  • Experiment a little. The first few things you try may not work and that’s totally normal. Don’t keep trying things that you don’t like or that don’t work. Give yourself permission to experiment until you get to know yourself a little better.
  • Be flexible. Every day is different and there are days when motivation is hard to come by. This is a good time to think about what’s going on. Why aren’t you motivated? Maybe you’re extra tired or maybe your workout seems boring. Maybe you need more sleep or maybe you need to ditch your plans and just go for a walk. Listen to yourself and you’ll find the motivation you need.
  • Reward yourself. Reward yourself for every workout you do, no matter how small. Time to listen to music or read a book. Time to soak in a hot tub or browsing a bookstore. Every month, plan bigger rewards like a massage or a night out. Knowing you get a treat is a great motivator.
  • Get some help. Don’t know what you’re doing? Hire a personal trainer or search through some of Verywell’s database of workouts and articles for guidance.
  • Just keep going. There’s usually a time, maybe a few weeks after you start working out, when motivation flags and you want to quit. This is the moment you need to keep going because one of the ingredients for consistent exercise is momentum.